Movie Review: Wolfwalkers
I’d argue that, above all genres, animation has the ability to take a story and give it a truly unique style. They’re best equipped to give those extra details, the finer touches that acting simply doesn’t have the ability to expand upon. Wolfwalkers, then, should be heralded as yet another successful, incredibly good-looking animated piece. It doesn’t offer us anything we haven’t seen before, but the few twists and tricks up its sleeve that it does showcase are well worth the undivided attention of its audience. For all the pandering to more conventional genre tropes and stylings, Wolfwalkers offers up undeniably fresh moments that will sit well with those looking for a new style of animation.
The collaborative efforts of directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart are nothing short of mesmerising. Their unique style of animation crashes headfirst into a wondrous story that will no doubt captivate younger minds. It didn’t do all that much for my cynical, jaded mind, but there’ll be those out there who can pull emotional sentimentalism from the daughter and father story found at the core of this. A tale of two individuals, and how we must inevitably fly the nest and try and make it on our own, it’s a nice story that we can get to grips with relatively quickly through some animation that has heart and soul.
You can’t deny the charm Wolfwalkers has. It showcases a friendship suddenly blossoming between two children with very different lifestyles. There are times where this friendship is jarring and poorly paced, our characters go from venomous hate and mistrust to sudden love and care for one another, and it feels all too predictable as to where the relationship is headed. Still, the charms of the animation manage to hide the smaller issues of pacing and dialogue, instead it paves the way forward for a tumultuous, sudden end to it all, along with a relatively sound, enjoyable finale. It’s crucial to say that this piece won’t be all that taxing for those who wish to invest their time in it, but there are moments where Wolfwalkers feels like it wants its audience to be connected to characters that are certainly likeable, but not much beyond that.
Wolfwalkers has all the makings of a criminally underappreciated animated spectacle. It happened to Kubo and the Two Strings, and I worry that the same fate will be brought to Moore and Stewart. Having said that, though, this is a fresh and invigorating animation that should hopefully set the bar for what we’ve come to expect from independent, smaller products. It breaks free from the computer-generated sleekness, and brings homely, hardworking touches to all the right spots. A medieval adventure full of danger, excitement, and magic, Wolfwalkers provides a superb animation style that tapped into my nostalgia far more than it should have, bringing with it a rather unsurprising core.